DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale), "Dente di Leon" is the Italian heirloom dandelion, not the chicory that is often sold as dandelion. This is the same green my Italian Grandmother used every Spring to make her delicious Frite Verde omelette. It is a bitter/sweet flavor. Pick green while young before it blooms. 30-50 days. 50 Seeds.
MEDICINAL: The reason my Grandmother had this tradition (and generations before her) is that Dandelion is a wonderful spring tonic, helping to cleanse toxins from the system. In any of its forms and uses, it has a stimulating effect on the whole digestive system, liver and kidney functions and will move your bowels gently.
DYERS: Dandelion root turns wool magenta with alum mordant; purple with tin and vinegar; and yellow without mordant. The flowers also yield a yellow dye.
GROWING TIPS: Easy to grow, but can take 60 days or longer to germinate, and seeds won't all germinate at the same time. Plant as soon as ground can be worked and harvest the young leaves for culinary use. Older leaves are too bitter to be edible. Let your older plants mature through at least one-two growing cycles and harvest the long thick taproots in the fall for either for medicinal purposes or to roast, grind and add to your coffee or brew on its own. The flowers make a "wine", really more like a liquor (see recipe below).
DANDELION WINE: Pour a gallon of boiling water over a gallon of the flowers. Stir well and cover with a blanket and let stand 3 days, stirring occasionally when you think about it. Strain and boil the liquid 30 minutes adding 3 1/2 lb. of loaf sugar, a sliced ginger, grated orange rind and sliced lemon. When cold, put a little yeast on a piece of toast and add to the brew. This will cause the necessary fermentation. When it has stopped "working" (usually after about two days) put in a cask for two months and then bottle. The resulting liquor is an excellent tonic, extremely good for the blood.